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Archive for the 'Our Main Street Farm' Category

Jump

I’m thankful for trees, falling leaves, and raked piles of fun.

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So far only three people have taken advantage of this awesome pile of leaves (me and two little kids from our street). It might take a while for the neighborhood to catch on. But once they do…

Fall Is Approaching

We are all under the weather (just in time for Hurricane Sandy to blow by). Today was mostly grey and misty so we decided to take advantage of what felt like our first real fall day by sitting outside around our fire pit.We built the pit with cinder blocks that were previously a patio under the garden shed. We like it when we can make things that pretty much cost nothing!

The leaves seemed to have changed colors and fallen overnight. In Chicago by now we’d be wrapped up in coats and boots sipping mochas on our morning walks. That sounds dreamy as I write it but this afternoon sitting around our fire sipping lukewarm coffee and wiping our runny noses was pretty dreamy, too.

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How Many Pickets Does A…?

We purchased a URL for our future home blog but it’s still in the works. Well, honestly babies and house things have taken precedence. Though the truth is Nathan and I both are looking forward to writing and jotting down sentiments and projects we’ve ventured on.

One of which is the picket fence. We’ve known since we moved in or closed on this house that we wanted a picket fence. Do you know how much fence costs? Not that we’d probably ever purchase our own fence (my husband take the easy route?) but a quick quote from a home improvement store lands us at about $1200 for the 230 feet of yard we want to fence. So we are making our fence out of pallets! Found pallets, gifted pallets any and all pallets are up for grabs in this project. Nathan has actually struck a deal with one of our neighbors – in exchange for pallets Nathan will give him a ride to the scrap yard. This has come in handy since finding pallets in Durham is much more of a search than Chicago.

After a bit of math we’ve determined we will need approximately 630 (3 inch) pickets spaced 1.5 to 2 inches apart which basically equates to a whole lot of pallets. Nathan has performed most of the grunt work going at them with a sawzall and a flat bar. And just yesterday we put together a mock up section to see what it would look like. We are now playing around with keeping the pickets natural vs white as well. Both have pros and cons which I can write about later once we get there. The mockup section was really nice to see though the pickets are too close together.

It’s tough finding time to help or to feel a part of the project with a newborn but we all got involved yesterday. Eleanor loves anything to do with tools and helping Daddy. Hopefully by spring we will have a nice, loved, economical fence for our yard.

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This Old Home

We have a lot to do on this old house. And we keep dreaming about projects we don’t yet have money or time for, and starting others hoping we find the time to finish. Every other day I feel like the house is settling more to the West, and more in our hearts. It’s a beauty.

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Fall is Brighter Here

The temperatures have been dropping and leaves have even been falling. (I’m slowly trying to identify all the trees, shrubs, and flowers on our property – its a fun project). The mornings are spent wrapped up a little longer, sipping hot cups of coffee, and playing in footie pajamas. The days always warm up, but we are loving the crisp morning air.

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Walking

We’ve been going on walks every day lately. Short ones, longer ones, multiple ones a day. It’s nice because Eleanor loves sitting in her little car talking up a storm about everything she sees and of course waving hello to all the neighbors we pass. It’s nice for me because I love discovering our new little neighborhood. Its perfect for Nathan because he admires the old homes and picks up trash as we go.

There are some really beautiful homes in East Durham and on the flip side lots of homes abandoned and in ruins. We love this part of town because it reminds us a bit of Chicago – the city bus drives by, there are interesting neighbors, people say hello, wave, introduce themselves, and as poor and in need many of these people are they care about building a community.

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Mojo

In the last three days some sort of negative mojo has been swirling around us. At least that’s how it feels. Let’s see….

1. our washer stopped working (thankfully it was the one that came with the house – its a double stack washer dryer from the 70s! We have a newer model but because of the way the laundry room is built we can only put our new washing machine in there which means no dryer. So we are getting to know the clothes line. But let’s just say how inconvenient that is with two babies and lots of laundry).

2. The dishwasher actually fell out of the cabinet on to Eleanor. It only landed on part of her leg and didn’t hurt her thank god. But I have never been more shaken… All of my ceramic mixing bowls also came crashing down and barely missed her head. It was close and scary!

3. Nathan’s electric meter stopped working. He’s used it three times.

4. I broke a mirror minutes ago getting out of the shower. (can someone dispell the 7 years bad luck theory for me, please?)

5. Eleanor slipped while in the kitchen. The tv remote that was in her hand went flying into the dog water bowl. Bye bye remote.

I guess it could all just be a coincidence. Juggling two fussy babies with no time to breathe (Eleanor hasn’t been napping very long and Molly wants to be held all the time) will make things appear a little wild at times. But my goodness it’s weird! And I really don’t need 7 years of bad luck. So any theories or no theories at all that you can share would be very comforting at the moment.

Berries

We put our first plant in the ground the other day. We unfortunately didn’t research much about blueberry bushes because we needed to get them in fast (the leaves on one were beginning to die). So since then we’ve learned we petty much did it all wrong. But so far they are still alive. We may have to move them soon. Turns out blueberries hate grass and we really didn’t give them enough breathing space from the grass. We also should have added hummus to the dirt and mulch. They love mulch! The good news is we put them in the best spot for sun and drainage. Like with most of our gardening attempts we learn as we go along. And it’s always fun to get our hands dirty. This yard is my dream.

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Our Home

Sometime in May I had a melt down. It was one of those moments when everything spills over. In my heart I knew we had messed things up. We had made the wrong decision to move from Chicago to North Carolina. It had been rough ever since our arrival – pinching pennies, missing friends, home, the life we knew, conveniences, culture, routine. I’ve had three different positions as work since I arrived and a schedule that was never consistent. We made due trying to get out as much as possible, visiting family, taking advantage of all the natural beauty North Carolina has to offer but there was always this nagging feeling that it wasn’t right. We were forever in limbo.

The afternoon of my melt down I went to work. Nathan texted me. The house that he had his eye on since we had moved – basically our dream house – had fallen through with it’s previous possible buyers. It was on the market again. And, the ball started rolling. Here was something that could give us hope. A foundation. A home. With the help of Nathan’s parents who know an awful lot about buying old homes we were putting an offer in exactly one week later.

The house is called The Boyd House. It was built in 1890 by a carpenter named Thomas M. Young as well as the smaller house that sits directly behind it. At the time Mr. Boyd was living in the smaller house next door, and then purchased the T-shaped farmhouse in 1930 from Mr. Young. It has been in the Boyd family ever since. Sometime in the 70s we believe there were two additions put on the back of the house. It is on a corner of East Main street and sits on a double lot! The yard is spectacular! Grandpa Boyd had a victory garden here after the war, and appeared to have gardened for many years. The soil is black – this is rare in North Carolina and is probably a result of years and years of working it. On our second visit to the house I found a four leaf clover in the yard. Usually four leaf clovers grow in batches but I haven’t been able to find one since.

The previous owner (grand daughter of Mr. Boyd) who we purchased it from has boxes of old photographs and memories to share with us soon! I can’t wait to see. To relish in the history of this home and carry on new traditions.

Needless to say the home purchasing ordeal carried out for some time. Nathan’s dad said that this was the most absurd and irregular home purchase he’d ever been a part of. I believe him on that one. There was a lot of back and forth between the appraiser and the lenders. It was almost as if the lenders didn’t believe what the appraiser was saying, and kept forcing him to change his appraisal. Every Friday would come with the hopes of hearing good news, but nothing. Until a few weeks ago. On Tuesday July 31st we signed on our very first home. The signing was a bit unconventional, too. We actually did it in the home! The lawyer came, my in-laws, our nephews! It was a family affair! Even as I signed the last paper I had to ask the lawyer if this was really IT? What could go wrong now? He said pretty much nothing. We all breathed a sigh of relief.

The house is going to need years of work but we have high hopes. Nathan ripped up the carpet the next day to find beautiful hard wood floors underneath and some not so pretty. A good sanding and shine will help that in the next year. We have work to do on the foundation, the roof, the addition (which appears to have been eaten by termites) and the house while it has duct work for AC does not have a unit. Other than that it is totally habitable – heat, two bathrooms (though somewhat makeshift in my opinion), a living room, dining room, kitchen, parlour, library (or what will be a play room), and three bedrooms upstairs. It’s huge! Almost overwhelmingly huge. Eleanor runs through the rooms like a bandit and half the time I don’t know where she is. Baby gates will come in handy for a while.

For being in East Durham you’d be amazed by how quiet and natural the setting can be. We’ve seen multiple variations of butterflies, birds chirp for hours, hummingbirds fly to the windows, and there are two rosemary bushes and a camellia bush plus a couple dozen other plants and trees I’ve yet to identify. We are pretty excited for what is to come – both the work and the reward.

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The Boyd House, 1943

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The Boyd House, 2012

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The yard

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The front porch

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The original front door

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Dining Room (before carpet was pulled up)

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The house has all of its original hardware

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Living Room (before carpet was pulled up) – Only working fireplace

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Foyeur + Stairs (before carpet was pulled)

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Wall fabric in hall

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Ornate mantle in parlour

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The day it became ours!

Okay so that was a lot of pictures! And, I have more. Eeep! Nathan is going to make a site to document our home restoration progress, too. Here’s to an exciting adventure!

Nesting?

So much is happening over here in our little world. In 9 days we will be moved out of our current rental house…and moving into our very first home. It’s surreal. We have a lot to accomplish between then and now like cleaning the new place of the last 100 years of grease and grime, packing up everything, moving it, throw in a hospital tour, a few midwife appointments, daddy day care, work, and a fast approaching due date. Whoa!

Somehow we will make it happen.
Nathan pulled up the carpet last week, and today we went over to clean a bit. It would take a non pregnant person two days to clean that kitchen! I barely made a dent but it felt good to have time to do something. Eleanor ran around peeking in all the cabinets and drawers. And we all left dirty and sweaty.

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